Home > 2021 > October > 09

Daily Archives: October 9, 2021

Coronavirus live news: US has given over 400m jabs; Protesters in Rome try to break into PM’s office – as it happened

CDC says 187 million people in US are fully vaccinated; About 10,000 people join protest against mandatory Covid certificates

Russia reported 968 coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday, its highest single-day death toll since the start of the pandemic.

There were 29,362 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours, the government coronavirus task force said.

Singapore’s transport minister has said the country will allow quarantine-free entry to vaccinated travellers from Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the UK, Canada and the US.

Continue reading…

Nursing crisis sweeps wards as NHS battles to find recruits

Lack of EU staff adding to shortages: ‘There aren’t enough to deliver care we need’

Ministers are being warned of a mounting workforce crisis in England’s hospitals as they struggle to recruit staff for tens of thousands of nursing vacancies, with one in five nursing posts on some wards now unfilled.

Hospital leaders say the nursing shortfall has been worsened by a collapse in the numbers of recruits from Europe, including Spain and Italy.

Continue reading…

What Is the Global Minimum Tax Deal and What Will It Mean?

A global deal to ensure big companies pay a minimum tax rate of 15% and make it harder for them to avoid taxation has been agreed upon by 136 countries, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Friday.

The OECD said four countries — Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — had not yet joined the agreement, but that the countries behind the accord together accounted for over 90% of the global economy.

Here are the main points of the accord:

Why a global minimum tax?

With budgets strained after the COVID-19 crisis, many governments want more than ever to discourage multinationals from shifting profits — and tax revenues — to low-tax countries regardless of where their sales are made.

Increasingly, income from intangible sources such as drug patents, software and royalties on intellectual property has migrated to these jurisdictions, allowing companies to avoid paying higher taxes in their traditional home countries.

The minimum tax and other provisions aim to end decades of tax competition between governments to attract foreign investment.

How would a deal work?

The global minimum tax rate would apply to overseas profits of multinational firms with 750 million euros ($868 million) in sales globally.

Governments could still set whatever local corporate tax rate they want, but if companies pay lower rates in a particular country, their home governments could “top up” their taxes to the 15% minimum, eliminating the advantage of shifting profits.

A second track of the overhaul would allow countries where revenues are earned to tax 25% of the largest multinationals’ so-called excess profit — defined as profit in excess of 10% of revenue.

What happens next?

Following Friday’s agreement on the technical details, the next step is for finance ministers from the Group of 20 economic powers to formally endorse the deal, paving the way for adoption by G-20 leaders at a summit at the end of this month.

Nonetheless, questions remain about the U.S. position, which hangs in part on a domestic tax reform the Biden administration wants to push through the U.S. Congress.

The agreement calls for countries to bring it into law in 2022 so that it can take effect by 2023, an extremely tight timeframe given that previous international tax deals took years to implement.

Countries that have in recent years created national digital services taxes will have to repeal them.

What will be the economic impact?

The OECD, which has steered the negotiations, estimates the minimum tax will generate $150 billion in additional global tax revenues annually.

Taxing rights on more than $125 billion of profit will be additionally shifted to the countries were they are earned from the low tax countries where they are currently booked.

Economists expect that the deal will encourage multinationals to repatriate capital to their country of headquarters, giving a boost to those economies.

However, various deductions and exceptions baked into the deal are at the same time designed to limit the impact on low tax countries like Ireland, where many U.S. groups base their European operations.

China Presses US to Cancel Tariffs

China said on Saturday that it had pressed the United States to eliminate tariffs in talks between the countries’ top trade officials that Washington saw as a test of bilateral engagement between the world’s biggest economies.

The virtual talks between U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and China’s Vice Premier Liu He followed Tai’s announcement on Monday that she would seek “frank” talks and hold China to its commitments under a “Phase 1” trade deal negotiated by former President Donald Trump.

“The Chinese side negotiated over the cancellation of tariffs and sanctions, and clarified its position on China’s economic development model and industrial policies,” China’s Xinhua state news agency said after the talks, held Friday Washington time.

Tai intended to use the call, the second between the two, to test whether bilateral engagement can address U.S. complaints about Beijing’s trade and subsidy practices, a USTR official said.

Resolution through consultation

“Ambassador Tai and Vice Premier Liu reviewed implementation of the U.S.-China Economic and Trade Agreement and agreed that the two sides would consult on certain outstanding issues,” USTR said in a statement.

Xinhua said the two sides “expressed their core concerns and agreed to resolve each other’s reasonable concerns through consultation.”

“Both sides agree to continue communicating with an equal approach and mutual respect, and to create the conditions for the healthy development of economic and trade relations between the two countries and the recovery of the world economy,” it said.

US cites China’s ‘authoritarian’ approach

In a briefing ahead of the call, a senior USTR official said Tai would give Liu an assessment of China’s performance in implementing the Phase 1 deal, including promised purchases of U.S. goods that are falling short of targets.

Asked about the shortfalls, China’s ambassador to the United States, Qin Gang, told China’s Phoenix TV in an interview on Friday that Beijing had always kept its promises in state-to-state relations, the embassy said in a summary released Saturday.

He said Beijing had sincerely and steadily implemented the agreement, despite serious challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, including what he called “tangible steps” on intellectual property protections and opening the financial sector.

He faulted Washington for acting at the same time to impose barriers and restrictions on Chinese firms in the United States.

Limits on ‘harmful practices’

Tai would raise concerns about China’s “non-market” economic practices, the U.S. official said.

“We recognize that Beijing is increasingly explicit that it is doubling down on its authoritarian state-centric approach and is resistant to addressing our structural concerns,” the official said, adding that, consequently, Washington would focus on improving U.S. competitiveness, diversifying markets and “limiting the impact of Beijing’s harmful practices.”

The Phase 1 deal in January eased a long-running tariff war between the world’s two largest economies. It focused largely on China’s promise to boost purchases of U.S. farm and manufactured goods, energy and services by $200 billion over two years, along with increased protections for copyright, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property.

The Trump administration envisioned a Phase 2 negotiation to tackle more difficult issues such as subsidies to state enterprises and China’s strategic industrial policies.

The official said Tai’s future engagement with China would depend on “how China responds to tonight’s call” and declined to discuss possible next steps, but added that Tai would not seek Phase 2 negotiations.